How was it being a windsurfing star in the early days of the millennium? Who had been your biggest rivals?
To be a so-called windsurfing star was pretty amazing really but probably not for the privileges the current sports stars have. I was able to live in Maui and travel the world with my friends and windsurf in the most insane locations around the world 365 days a year. I got paid to do it which was pretty ridiculous really. We got looked after very well at most of the locations and events we went to with free accommodation, cars food, etc etc. If I look back now I was very privileged.
My biggest rivals were always Robby, then Bjorn, Robert, Andres, Scott Fenton and my best mate through hit all Jason Polakow. It then went on to the Pritchard brothers, Fransisco, and many more to be honest.
What was your favourite moment on the PWA tour?
I have been fortunate enough to have many favourite moments on the PWA. Obviously my favourite win was the Aloha Classic but also competing in the Cape Verde wave event in those insane condition was incredible. Competing in front of 10,000 people in Bercy was also as close to being a rock star as we could get. With the live TV, super loud music and screaming fans was so memorable. But to be honest just having the opportunity to live on Maui over 17 years and largely with one of my best mates Jason Polakow was a dream come true and something I will always remember.
What do you miss most from competing?
After I retired from competing I was worried about the lack of competition in my life and what I would do with all that energy but luckily I managed to move that onto my daily working life. I obviously run it differently to a contest, but my motivation is the same and my drive to improve in all aspects is the same as before. Don’t think it was not hard to stop windsurfing every day in Maui, Canaries, Australia etc etc… - but after 20 years on the world tour battering your body and flying across the world my body and mind was ready for something different. Thankfully I was offered this option to move across from team rider to agent for the UK which was a great solution for me.
Which things you don’t miss at all?
There are 2 things I don’t miss too much and they are the flying with all that gear and living langley with some sort of injury. Both of these are pretty tiring but a part of what I did.
Why is windsurfing the best sport in the world?
I do many different sports but I can honestly say Windsurfing is pretty much the best sport I have done from all the watersport to racing motor bikes around the tracks. Many other sports give you a great emotion but a good day windsurfing with your friends is impossible to beat. I have just got some more help within K66 which has and will allow me and my staff to get out on the water more and more as I do feel this is a big part of what made me who I am and what helps me run my business as well as I can.
What are your favourite conditions, equipment setup and spot?
My favourite conditions are waves. Logo to mast high side shore from the right on my Fanatic Stubby or Grip and Duotone Super Hero 4.7 or 5.0, sunshine and warm water. Hookipa has always been a favourite spot of mine but Punta Preta on Cape Verde has pretty much the most incredibly steep, fast, clean and perfect wave I have ever ridden. This said I love a good windy sunny day on the south coast of the UK at Shorekipa and other south coast spots we sail at.
Who are your favourite all-time-windsurfers?
My favourite all time windsurfers are Robby Naish - all time hero. Bjorn Dunkerbeck for such incredible results and his love for the sport still. Jason Polakow for how he changed the way we wave sailed and his super natural ability to be able to do anything he put his hand to and do it well.
Where did you have your biggest wipeout?
Had a few big wipeouts but luckily nothing that put in to a bad place. When you are super fit and used to the crashes it’s not so bad but I can tell you if I had half the crashes today I would probably drown for sure. Riding my desk, Van or demo kit around does not quite train the same…
How do you see the development of the windsurfing sport in the past couple of years? Where do we go in the future?
I think windsurfing has been fairly steady as a sport in the last few years which to be honest is pretty amazing when you think of all the other sports competing with us. If you look at the competition side the things they are doing on the water in heats is nothing less than insane. You watch a heat with Gollito in freestyle or Victor and Adam Lewis in the waves it really is incredible. Also now looking at the rising of the Foils flying above the water silently in 8 knots is quite feet for many from intermediate to pro level but the thing that has allowed us all to do this is the equipment. How Duotone has made it so simple to rig up, so light and forgiving to use and with such a range it is no wonder it is the biggest brand in the world with success across the globe in all aspects of our sport.
What would you advise to young windsurfers who want to start competing?
My advice for young up and coming windsurfers is to get into their local club or school and get involved with their race or competition series. This could be long or short board sailing or ideally both as I believe you need both sets of skills to be the best. Also learn to sail in all different type of conditions and all types of windsurfing kit but most of all you need to enjoy it.
What would you say if your kids wanted to be professional windsurfer?
I would love my kids to be more involved in windsurfing whether it’s competing, teaching or working within our industry. If they wanted to really compete at the highest level that would be all good with me, but I would say I am not very good at letting my kids hurt themselves like I was ok with hurting my body. I am a bit more cautious with them than with myself…
Thanks for your time, Nik! Great to have you in TEAM DUOTONE!